by Great Falls Clinic Pediatrics
I have been surprised by the number of families who do not use sunscreen for their children! Here is Montana we may not get as many sun-filled days as in southern states, but we can still protect our children from sun damage and related cancers. Babies can be especially vulnerable not just to sunburn, but also to heat stroke, since they cannot move out of the sun or tell you that they’re too hot.
What can you do to keep your children safe while still getting benefits like vitamin D from the sun?
- Cover up! Dressing your baby and children in light-colored, long-sleeved breathable fabrics provides even better protection from UV radiation that sun screen. Also use a hat with a brim that covers the face and ears.
- Shade! Keep babies, especially those under 6 months of age, in shaded areas including under trees and covered patios.
- Use sun screen! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a sun screen that is at least SPF15 for best protection, regardless of skin tone. Apply sun screen 15-30 minutes before going outside, and every 2 hours if you’re playing in water. For babies, a small amount of sun screen in uncovered areas can also be protective.
- Limit sun exposure! If possible, decrease outside activities during the hottest times of day, which is usually between 11 a.m.-3 p.m. in the summer.
- Hydration! Ensure your children are keeping well hydrated to prevent heat stroke.
- Sunburn? If home remedies like cool wash cloths, aloe vera, rehydration, are not working, call your child’s pediatrician for evaluation.
For more information on sun safety, please visit:
I can’t wait to enjoy the warm summer days with my children! What are some fun activities that your family does?